August 02, 2017

Blogging | My Theory Of Reflect Vs Collect

blogging theory of reflect vs collect

When it’s time to reflect vs collect

Sometimes in the process of teaching others you have a moment of reflection yourself. Quickly followed by a revelation.

This happened for me whilst hosting the first Advanced Blogging workshop at hero recently.

As bloggers we’re constantly collecting ideas in the form of inspiration. We see new blogging trends bubbling excitedly to the surface and some older, tried and tested ideas being re-hashed again and again.

Sometimes they both work. Sometimes they both disappear without a trace.

We see plenty of bandwagons being jumped on and driven exceedingly well. And some wagons wobble, de-rail… and occasionally crash in spectacular fashion.

That’s the nature of the blogging beast.

One of the hero workshop participants said something very wise about how she observed particular genres of bloggers all doing similar things and working in a particular way, but quite quickly decided that that wasn’t for her.

She was going to stick with her gut feel about what her readers wanted.

I actually had to sit on my hands at that moment to stop myself from jumping up and applauding her for realising this so early on in “the journey”.

Biscuit running along the beach

online stylist and Biscuit at the beach

And then Laura, my co-host, constant source of inspiration, valued friend and incredible entrepreneurial mind said “Sometimes we try stuff out because its what all the cool kids are doing. But then we realise its not for us, we don’t need to be a cool kid… and so we end up finding our own way”.

Ding! There was me with my very own lightbulb moment right in the midst of a workshop where I was supposed to be generating a few lightbulbs for other people. I hope I still managed to!

Time to get all Carrie
Bradshaw on you…

I feel the need to hate to go all SATC on you and pose a Carrie Bradshaw type question here but what if we spent more time reflecting and less time collecting?

Rather than looking at what everyone else is doing and thinking “Ooh I’ll try that! It seems to work for them”, maybe we should first be asking “What IS it that my readers come to my blog for?”

What do they like? What sets me apart and what do they want more of?

rows of pastel coloured beach huts

online stylist at the beach

After several years of trying out lots of things, (including far too many personal style incarnations), it feels like I’m ready for reflect as opposed to collect.

And you’re talking to one who’s collected a lot. If you delve back (WAY BACK) into the archives or if you’ve been on board since the early days (thank you from the bottom of my heart by the way), you’ll have often seen me in “collect” mode.

Otherwise known as trying out what the cool kids are doing. Because I thought I should be doing it too.

…it’s how we learn what works…

And that’s not a criticism of myself or any other blogger who falls onto this path. We all do it – it’s how we learn what works and what doesn’t.

It was round about this time last summer that I started reflecting more about the direction this blog was heading in and to some extent, life too. A child just about to leave primary school will do that to you!

Without going into too much detail (because I’m saving that for the re-launch post), as well as feeling that the blog was ripe for a facelift, I wanted it to more accurately reflect my life.

wearing celine sunglasses at the beach

online stylist wearing white company grey fringed cardigan

sneakers in the sand

Over the years I’ve become a coastal and countryside girl with only the occasional yearning to hop up to London.

So WHY on earth was I dragging a suitcase full of clothes up to Notting Hill, South Kensington and Chelsea for my outfit posts? Because it’s what the cool kids were doing, thats why.

I was clearly a candidate for more of the reflect vs collect theory!

If that sometimes means slowing down, more planning and more time to figure out what I want to blog about as opposed to what I feel I should blog about, then so be it.

Attract More Of Your Tribe

If we reflect more about what makes us tick, what REALLY inflames our passion and then channel it into the blog, surely we’ll attract more of our tribe. And that’s a really good thing.

Blogging has evolved so much in the time that I’ve been “in” it. It’s heartening to see new blogs popping up all the time. It is NOT an over-saturated market.

I think there’s an audience for plenty more voices talking with passion about what inspires them.

Just be sure to reflect on your own personal take first…

walking along under the sea wall

It’s freebie download time!

As I start the official count down to #TOSrefresh2017 launch in the next few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I would be or what might I have ended up doing if I hadn’t started blogging.

And every single time I come back to the same conclusion… that I am SO glad I just got started! And then kept going.

In the course of the hero Blogging Workshops  I often meet women who are thinking about starting a blog but for whatever reason, still haven’t taken that leap and hit publish.

Just Do It!

At this point I generally start jumping up and down on the spot and shouting “Seriously… Just Do It!” in the manner of a certain sportswear brand ad. There’s no right or wrong way to get started – just your way.

So if that’s you and you’re still thinking about maybe starting a blog or hovering over that Publish button on your first post I’ve created a “Why You Should ABSOLUTELY Start A Blog…And How To” freebie guide!

Sign up here to download yours now!

p.s. If you download this, as an #InspirationInsider, you’ll be getting a first look at the new blog logo and a few of the design elements too!

STYLE CREDITS: Sunglasses – Céline | Fringe Wrap Cardigan (old) – The White Company | Jeans – Donna Ida for Jaeger | Grey Sneakers – Superga for The White Company

Image stills by: Lauren Garvey

18 comments on “Blogging | My Theory Of Reflect Vs Collect”

  1. I love this! It’s beautifully worded and I do love when a shared moment leads to a proper epiphany! I love what you’re doing and I love it precisely BECAUSE you’re you and you’re different and I identify more with that than any number of people posing with the flowers outside Liberty (although i love a bit of that too!). Can’t wait for the redo my friend 🙂

    1. Becky Becky Becky….Thank you so much! I flippin’ love you!
      So pleased to hear that it is identifiable – you do stuff and have to keep on trying to find the thing that works but sometimes its hard to figure out exactly what IS working isn’t it?
      Like you and your love of travel, cruises and Disney, you have to talk about what you love otherwise the passion soon disappears pretty quickly.
      I love the flowers outside of Liberty thing too and all that London stuff because I really love to visit.
      But here is where I live so I figured it was time to make the most of it!
      A xxx

  2. Thank you so much for this, I really needed it and very timely! Just about to relaunch my blog… also, on the subject of travelling up to Kensington with suitcases full of clothes, I had some photos done recently and on my photographers advice I bought a load of clothes that were ‘more fashionable than you’d usually wear’, cue an awful set of photos that look nothing like me! The real cool kids are the ones that don’t try and be cool at all hey! x

    1. Rebecca, I’m so pleased that the timing of the post was spot on for you!
      It’s a difficult one as its so tempting to try and emulate others who we admire and respect. I think as a blogger and Instagrammer, that temptation will never really go away as we consume SO much.
      But I guess its just filtering out what we really love and putting our own spin (and heart and soul) into and on it?
      So sorry to hear about the photos. I’ve been there too in similar blog situations! But try not to think of it as a wasted experience as you learnt something really important. You could even turn it into a blog post!
      And maybe each one of those items of clothing would work individually when you mix them in with your existing wardrobe? A style challenge…and another whole series of blog posts right there!
      Amanda xx

  3. Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog and Instagram because you live in the same area that I do and it is refreshing to see a life I can relate too. Looking forward to your re launch.

    1. Thank you so much Karen – I’m so pleased to hear that you enjoy and can relate!
      AND that you get to enjoy the same beautiful beaches too…although with this rain today, I don’t think
      we’ll be getting much coastal time!
      Have a lovely day!
      Amanda xx

  4. Hi Amanda, I love your blog and instagram posts,;I’m not a blogger (yet) and don’t live in London- I thought maybe I was too provincial, but you inspire me!
    I aspire to a stylish, simple, and elegant life/style, even if I’m not always in the big city….I think you epitomise all these things …I will look at your blog start-up link too..thanks ! Jules

    1. Hi Jules,
      So lovely to hear from you and thank you so much for your lovely comment!
      I totally don’t think you have to live in London to be able to blog although I’m sure it helps having so many amazing locations and opportunities close by!
      Aspiring to a simple elegant life wherever you are is the best starting point so I really hope you find the download useful and do get started with your blog!
      Good luck!
      Amanda xx

  5. Oh, thank you for this, Amanda! And for the beautiful freebie!

    My own business is the midst of big shifts – not so much a “re-brand,” as a growing into my brand. Recently changed my logo…and I’m now in the midst of a designing a new website with a new look. My blog will be much more front-and-centre there, compared to my current site. Working with my brander/designer has been a treat – all the more so because she encourages me to bring forth my authentic self, rather than recreate somebody else’s look.

    1. You’re so welcome Dana!
      And really excited to hear you’re in the midst of a push to grow your brand too – it’s an amazing time isn’t it?
      I loved working with Emily Wells my brand designer – to have someone help bring your vision to life is all and such
      a clever process to witness!
      Good luck and enjoy the journey!
      Amanda xx

  6. Love your blog! I also live in Hampshire and find your blog inspiring – and friendly. You seem…refreshingly normal, in the best possible way.

    And the free download is perfect timing for me, as I am thinking about starting my own blog. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sarette!
      Thank you so much – I’ll take refreshingly normal any day!
      I’m so pleased you loved the free download and I wish you lots of fun and luck in starting your blog!
      Amanda xx

  7. This blog post is perfect timing for me, thank you! I’m still very much finding my feet with my blog and figuring out the direction I want to go in. The website stats are not there, that will take time I’m sure but I love the writing and sharing ideas. Every now and then someone will mention in passing that they read a post and liked it and that’s a great boost!

    I really love your photography and writing style and I’d love to book in for one of your workshops. Are you planning any in London? I’d come to Stockbridge but it looks like there’s no train station there?

    1. Hi Katie,
      So pleased to hear that you’re up and running with the blog! The stats will come and figuring out your direction is so important to do in the beginning I think.
      Thanks so much for your kind words regarding the writing and images on the blog! Hero and I aren’t currently planning any workshops in London – the nearest station to Stockbridge is Winchester which is about a ten to fifteen minute cab ride away from there.
      It would be lovely to see you at one of the workshops – we have some scheduled in very soon!
      Have a great day ahead!
      Amanda xx

  8. Hi Amanda,
    I’m so happy to find your blog! I’m a designer in New York transitioning into blogging full time. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your experience with blogging. I started my blog in June of last year and agree whole heartedly with you that authenticity is everything. Look forward to being a regular here and to your relaunch, though I think the blog is pretty great already!
    My best,

    1. Hi Jolain!
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and I’m so glad you liked the post!
      I love the sharing culture that exists in blogging now – it feels much more supportive. Wishing you lots of luck in full time blogging and it sounds like you’re already on the right track!
      Amanda xx

  9. I hear you. I had to take a year off and step back from it and only now feel I want to blog again. On my own terms. I only blogged ‘professionally’ for a year and earned good money with it, but I had to realise it really wasn’t for me. It killed my Mojo and I stopped blogging on Met Mum altogether, because I felt my own voice had been silenced by all the stuff that was expected from me. I’ve never been a cool kid and didn’t feel comfortable.
    You are doing a fantastic job, Amanda. I always felt you have been true to yourself, and I love those more personal posts that make it so easy to relate.
    Btw, I also love the blog design. Did you relaunch already? Deborah xx

    1. Hey Deborah!
      So lovely to hear from you again!
      I think the minute we put pressure on ourselves to be ‘that’ professional blogger, it actually becomes really difficult. One of the biggest things I’m still learning is how to treat all content the same be it sponsored or not. I’m not a cool kid either but as you say, I think we find our own way eventually!
      Thank you so much for your lovely words of support – coming from someone who I’ve known since the “early days” that means such a lot!
      How is the yoga business doing?
      No – no rebrand yet – this is still the old version but new version well on the way. Can’t wait!
      Take care Lovely Lady!
      Amanda xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.